Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: August 9, 2005

CUNARD LINE is putting the Queen Mary 2 on the World Cruise route in 2007. The 151,000-ton QM2 will make its first round-the-world voyage from Fort Lauderdale via Rio de Janeiro; San Francisco; Honolulu; Sydney; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Alexandria, Egypt; Athens; Rome; and Southampton, England. The QM2 will round Cape Horn in South America instead of slipping through the Panama Canal, which is how the Queen Elizabeth 2 will get from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles on its 2007 world cruise. While the QM2 will be embarking on its first world cruise, the QE2 will be leaving on its 25th.

EASYCRUISE, the un-cruise cruise line, is reporting its first load factors: The orange-colored ship the EasyCruiseOne recorded a 59% occupancy level during May, its first month of operations. In August, EasyCruise is booking 83% of its cabins. The line said that a mid-80% occupancy is a natural maximum for this concept (i.e. the concept of hop-on, hop-off cruising; the lines two-night stay minimum means the weekends book up faster than the weekdays).

EASYCRUISES WINTER CARIBBEAN OPERATION, however, is a little different than the summer Med cruises because of a higher air cost. In order to drive further sales for the weekly Caribbean itinerary, the line said, EasyCruise is looking to establish relationships with the [GDS] & so [agents] can book the flights and the cruise at the same time in the same system. GDS negotiations, EasyCruise said, are ongoing.

DISNEY CRUSISE LINE REPEATERS, take note: The Disney Wonder is taking its first-ever break from its short-cruise schedule to add in a few extended stays. The ship is scheduled for a 10-day and an 11-day cruise to the southern Caribbean. The 10-day cruise departs Sept. 7, 2006, and the 11-day cruise departs Sept. 17, 2006. The itineraries includes calls at Barbados and St. Kitts, new calls for Disney, as well as St. Thomas, St. Lucia, Antigua and, of course, Castaway Cay, Disneys private island.

THE REGAL PRINCESS, which was slated to transfer to the U.K.-based Ocean Village fleet, will stay with the Princess Cruises fleet instead, Carnival Corp. said last week. Instead, the German-market Aidablu will become the second Ocean Village ship, in spring 2007. Carnival gave a couple of reasons for the change: The Regal Princess can maximize earnings for Princess. The Aidablu and the current Ocean Village vessel are sister ships, which means refitting the Aidablu will be easier. And Carnival has been on a buying spree for Aida Cruises lately; the line will have three new ships by 2009.

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